Europe's market for municipal wastewater treatment plants remains attractive

ecoprog and Fraunhofer UMSICHT expect the amount of investment in wastewater treatment plants up to 2010 to be about US$53.17 billion. The markets experiencing the greatest expansion are Southern and Eastern Europe but Germany still ranks as the largest market. A recent study, "The market for municipal wastewater treatment plants in Europe" provides an examination of the demand for wastewater treatment plants in Europe...

Jun 27th, 2006

COLOGNE, Germany, June 27, 2006 -- ecoprog and Fraunhofer UMSICHT expect the amount of investment in wastewater treatment plants up to 2010 to be about EUR 42 billion [US$53.17 billion]. The markets experiencing the greatest expansion are Southern and Eastern Europe but Germany is still the country with the largest market.

A market study recently produced by ecoprog/Fraunhofer UMSICHT and entitled "The market for municipal wastewater treatment plants in Europe" provides an examination of the market for wastewater treatment plants in Europe.

European Union legislation has brought about a high level of investment in wastewater treatment plants over the past 10 years and with an annual investment of over EUR 8 billion [US$10.13 billion]. The Urban Waste Water Directive sets out clear guidelines relating to the need for treatment of residential wastewater and to treatment standards. Therefore, this also provides a stimulus to schemes for the construction of new plants as well as for upgrading plants. The original plan was that the 15 old States in the EU should implement the Directive by the end of 2005.

There are still gaps in the provision of wastewater treatment, especially in the countries of Southern Europe. Even in countries such as France and the United Kingdom where there are large markets, work is still going on to develop a process for the removal of nutrients for nitrogen and phosphorous. However, the demand backlog, and the vigorous expansion that results from this demand, in the Eastern European EU member States are even more significant developments. The EU supports the Directive through a wide range of funds. The Directive will create the vital stimulus for investment for the next five years.

Germany is still the largest national market. Its existing stock of high-quality treatment plants will ensure that there will continue to be a steady and high level of demand for maintenance and renovation work.

In the future the standards of treatment performance will increase further as a result of new legal guidelines such as the EU Water Framework Directive. But there are signs of a paradigm shift in this business sector: in the current environment where standards are high and there are empty coffers the main role of new investment is now to help reduce operating costs.

The business environment for those companies involved in the supply industry continues to be fragmented despite the concentration process of recent years. The largest suppliers are the large French companies Veolia and Suez. However, because of the numerous barriers to privatisation in many countries they are not a dominant force on the European market.

The Cologne firm of consultants ecoprog (www.ecoprog.de), with offices in Germany, France, and Italy, is a specialist in the environmental and energy technology market. Fraunhofer UMSICHT develops, evaluates and perfects technical processes related to environmental, safety, process and energy technology. These two produce joint market studies on selected individual segments of the environmental technology field.

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